When Jesus was on earth, the Jewish authorities watched to find fault with Him, though they themselves were seriously at fault. Mark 7:2-13 says, "When they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they washed their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels; and couches. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, 'Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?' He answered and said to them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." For laying aside the commandments of God, you hold the tradition of men---the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.' He said to them, 'All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother" and "Whoever curses father or mother, let him be put to death." But you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban' ---(that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect by your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.'"
1) Your topic today is the "sign of disobedience to God." Please explain who is disobedient to God, and what is the sign?
Answer: In the text we have read, Jesus points out to Jewish leaders their disobedience to God. He quoted words from Isa. 29:13 to show that they appear to be pious, but are actually breaking God's commandment. "Corban" means a gift to God. It was a device to let people turn the money they should spend on their parents into a gift to God, thus absolving them from their duty to their parents. It was a device that had a pious name, so that those who practiced it were respected.
2) That was an ancient custom, Is it still done today?
Answer: "Corban" is no longer practiced today, but another form of breaking God's commandment under pious pretext exists. We should learn to detect the subtlety of the device: it appears to be a human invention, but actually it is Satan's plot. For he hates God's law, and was the first to break it. When he tempted Adam and Eve to sin, his purpose was to drag the whole human race into perdition. He led the Jews to devise a way that appeared to be pious, but was in fact a violation of the fifth precept of the Decalog. In like manner today, he has led God's church to break the fourth commandment also under a pious pretext.
3) In olden days "Corban" meant to make a gift to God, what is the pious pretext people now use to break God's law?
Answer: The excuse many give today for breaking the fourth command is that they commemorate Christ's resurrection on the Sunday. They have reasons to show that the first day is better than the seventh. On the first day, they say, God created light, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, and the Holy Spirit descended, so it should be celebrated. They hope to find a Bible text telling us to commemorate Jesus' resurrection and Pentecost. But no such text exists. So it is man's idea that the first day is better than the seventh. Men claim to be wiser than God, and a holy day invented by man is preferred above the one God made.
4) But people say that God changed the Sabbath to Sunday as the holy day of the New Testament era.
Answer: That is another lie invented by men. In Ps. 89:34 God says, "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips." No matter how many excuses men may find to change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, they will never find Bible proof for it. Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Matt 5:17. In fact He told the disciples to pray in view of the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) "that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath." Matt 24:20. There is no Bible text that says the Sabbath has ever been changed.
5) You said that the attack on the Sabbath comes from Satan. Is that just your opinion, or is it foretold in the Bible?
Answer: Dan 7:25 speaks of a wicked power that would do three things: "1) He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, 2) shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and 3) shall intend to change times and law.: 4) The saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time." History records only one power which fulfills all four points. In 2 Thess. 2:3-8 Paul says, "That day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His coming." These words mean that this evil power will continue to the second advent of Christ.
6) You said that there is only one power in church history that meets these specifications. What power is that?
Answer: It is papal Rome. The pope claims to be Peter's successor, but he behaves quite differently than Peter. Acts 10:26 says that when Cornelius fell down to worship Peter, "Peter took him up, saying, Stand up, I myself also am a man." The pope lets people worship him, and claims the power to forgive sins, which prerogative belongs to God alone. Moreover, the pope is celibate, while Peter was a married man. See Mk 1:30. In the Middle Ages the pope launched Crusades and conducted Inquisitions to kill all whom refused to obey him. According to conservative estimates, the number of martyrs slain by him in 1260 years of his supremacy exceed 50 million. The pope claims the power to change God's law. His version of the Decalog omits the second command against idolatry, changes the Sabbath to Sunday, and splits the tenth command in two to make up for the second command. The triple crown worn by the pope represents his claim to be king of heaven, earth and the lower regions.
7) The pope's attempt to change God's law and the Sabbath was foretold in the words, "he shall intend to change times and law", am I right?
Answer: Yes. He intended to change them, but could not. Though many people observe Sunday, God does not recognize the change. And there have always been, and ever will be many souls who faithfully keep the Sabbath God has blessed.
8) But after all, Sunday-keepers far outnumber Sabbath-keepers.
Answer: Yes, just as commandment-breakers far outnumber commandment-keepers. But in terms of majority, God is always a Majority. And in the new earth, Sabbath-keepers will be 100% of its population. Isa 66:23 says, "It shall come to pass, that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord." Matt 7:13 says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
9) Will you please explain how Jesus Himself and the early church observed the Sabbath?
Answer: Luke 4:16 says, when Jesus "came to Nazareth, . . And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read." After the disciples and some women took part in the burial of Jesus, "they returned, and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment." Like 23:56. Acts 17:1-3 says, ". . .they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating, that the Christ had to suffer, and rise again from the dead." These texts show that the early church consistently kept the Sabbath and did not consider keeping any other day holy. Otherwise it would have led to much contention, as did the matter of Gentile converts practicing circumcision. See Acts 15. Only long after the apostles had passed away, did some Christians begin keeping Sunday instead of the Sabbath.
10) Is it true that ancient peoples used to worship the sun on Sunday?
Answer: Yes. Sun worship also corrupted the Israelites for a time. See Ezek. 8:16. There was a time when Christians held meetings on Sunday to evangelize the Gentiles. Later, seditious Jews led by Bar Cochba attempted to overthrow Roman rule, causing the Romans to suppress them by force and to outlaw Judaism. Many Christians feared to be mistaken for Jews because of the Sabbath, so changed to keeping Sunday. The earliest documentary evidence of Christians worshiping on Sunday was written in 150 B.C. The bishop of Rome early advocated the keeping of Sunday, which eventually led to persecuting Sabbath-keepers. Many who wanted to obey God and not be killed by the pope, had to retreat to the forests and mountain country.
In the 16th century, the Reformation movement spread through the nations of Europe. In 1545 the pope convened the council of Trent to study ways to deal with the Reformation. It continued to the year 1563. A chief topic of discussion was how to meet Martin Luther's slogan of "sola scriptura" (the Bible only), which placed the Bible above church authority.
Gaspare de Fosso, the bishop of Reggio finally made a speech which became the prime argument in support of papal authority. He pointed out that the Sabbath was indeed God's commandment, and Jesus declared that He came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets. But, he said, the church by her "divine authority" has changed the Sabbath to Sunday, ordering all people to observe it, and the whole world obeys. This fact, he said, proves that the authority of the church is higher than that of the Bible.
This argument received the approval of the council delegates, and has become the standard argument of all Catholic apologetics. In 1533 the Catholic priest John Eck first used it in a debate with Martin Luther, and Luther had no convincing rebuttal, because he did not accept the Sabbath truth, and still observed Sunday.
11) Some say that the Sabbath is an Old Testament holy day, while Sunday is the Sabbath of the New Testament, is that so?
Answer: That is not true, as it has no Bible support. Before He died, Jesus established three New Testament ceremonies: baptism, feet-washing and the Communion for believers to commemorate His death. If He wanted them to commemorate His resurrection, He would have made such a statement. For at the time neither His death nor His resurrection had occurred.
12) But after all, it is a nice thing for believers to commemorate Jesus resurrection, isn't it?
Answer: Yes. But if one uses it to abolish the Sabbath, it is a bad thing. It becomes an act of rebellion against God, just like the Jews who invented "Corban" to break God's command under a pious pretext. This is a strange phenomenon: religious festivals invented by men are always gladly celebrated, but people find all kinds of excuses and devise every method to abolish the Sabbath ordained by God. That's why we say that it is Satan inspiring men to oppose God's law.
Sunday cannot be a legitimate holy day of the New Testament, because the Bible says that New Testament rites must be confirmed before the death of Jesus. Heb. 9:16,17 says, "Where there is a testament (covenant) there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead," Gal. 3:15 says, "Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it." So the new covenant came in force (was confirmed) after Christ died. After that, "no one annuls or adds to it." That was why Christ instituted the rites of feet-washing and Communion before He died, even though His disciples did not understand what He meant when He said, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matt 26:28. For they did not expect Him to die. The words of Gal 3:15, "If it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it" prove that Sunday cannot be legitimately added to the new covenant, because the resurrection came three days late. If Christ wanted to make Sunday a new covenant holy day, He must abolish the Sabbath and institute Sunday in its place before His death.
13) Why do people commemorate Christ's resurrection every year at Easter, and also every week on Sunday?
Answer: That shows up the practice to be unreasonable. Sensible people ask: Why do you refuse to keep the day God told you to remember, and insist on remembering another day fixed by man? You make it a yearly festival, and also a weekly one. You do this obviously to oppose God, in open defiance of His Sabbath.
14) Now I see. Your topic, "Sign of disobedience to God" is not an overstatement. When a man knows that God has ordered him to "Remember the Sabbath day, " but deliberately observes another day of rest, he becomes Satan's pawn. For the devil wants the world to follow him in breaking the Sabbath in rebellion against God. People give it the good name of commemorating Christ's resurrection, but it is in fact pitting man's opinion against God's command. That is the basic issue.
Answer: Correct. The bottom line is: whom do you obey? Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and disobeyed God, thereby opening the floodgates of sin. Some people who read the story in Genesis don't see why God inflicted the death penalty for such a minor offense. Actually, God need not inflict a penalty. Our first parents died because they severed their connection with the Source of life. The act was small, but its significance was great. To eat a fruit isn't evil in itself, but to disobey God is a grave offense. The Sabbath question involves a mere difference of 24 hours. Yet in it is the issue of obedience. We dare not obey Satan to disobey God.
We have shown how men have tried to change the Sabbath to Sunday observance. Some see the truth and begin to keep God's Sabbath. Some still refuse to obey God, and find excuses for their disobedience. So we shall later look into their excuses.
Here we again quote Jesus words: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law, till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:17-19. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." Jn 15:10. 1 Jn 2:4 & 5:2,3 say, "He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . . . . By this we know that we
love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." The "God" of all who break the Sabbath, cannot be the God of the Bible. For the God of the Bible sternly rebukes all who pollute His holy Sabbath. See Ezek. 20:13, 16, 21, 24.